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Your Customers Asked, You Never Answered: The Current State of Google My Business Q&A Feature

Beth Thouin
Unsplash image of person holding phone with Google My Business listing

Haven’t set up your Google My Business profile yet? Check out our Complete Guide to Setting Up and Optimizing Your Google My Business Listing for everything you need to know to get started.

Google My Business has a slew of useful features designed to help small businesses succeed in a digital world. Although most users take advantage of Maps and Posts, one of the most underutilized features is the questions and answers (Q&A) section of Google My Business (GMB). 

The Q&A section on GMB acts as a go-to spot for people to ask questions with the expectation that someone from the business will provide an answer. But the reality is that approximately 91% of the questions asked by consumers end up going unanswered by business owners (based on my research for this post, I can confirm this is entirely true!). If consumers are looking for answers while considering your business and they don’t get a response, they may decide to go elsewhere - and that means you just lost the opportunity to convert them into a paying customer.

This Google My Business feature represents an untapped opportunity for you to connect with potential customers by answering questions about what you know best – your business! Here’s everything you need to know about the Google My Business Q&A feature and how you can make the most of it. 


What is Google My Business Q&A? 

Simply put, Google My Business Q&A is a custom FAQ included as part of your GMB listing. Real people (aka: your potential customers) ask questions in the hopes that the business will provide an answer.

Screenshot of Tautog's Restaurant Google My Business Q&A feature

According to the study cited above, more often than not these questions go unanswered by the business. Instead, Local Guides — who are users who review, add photos, answer questions or add unverified locations in exchange for points from Google — answer them. Google allows Local Guides to answer so that a business’ profile is as comprehensive as possible for anyone looking for information. 

Screenshot of Waterman's Surfside Grille Google My Business Q&A feature with Local Guide answers

The challenge with having Local Guides answer for you is that you can’t control the accuracy of the answers. Although often just trying to help, those answering the question may not be familiar with your business, may have had a negative experience, or may even recommend a competitor (yikes). If your Q&As are primarily answered by guides, you run the risk of incorrect or misleading information being passed on to your potential customers. 

Screenshot of Jumpin Shrimp Google My Business Q&A

Additionally, you need to keep in mind that Google My Business Q&A shows up in both desktop and mobile search results, so this is a key part of your overall presence on Google.
 

Where to Find Google My Business Q&A 

Google My Business Q&A is part of your listing and is found about halfway down the listing. 

Screenshot of Balance Orlando Google My Business Q&A feature

When you review your listing you can quickly see if you have questions that need to be answered. 

Screenshot of Balance Orlando Google My Business Q&A with good question

To stay on top of your Google My Business Q&A, you’ll want to turn on notifications so you know when there’s a new question asked. By monitoring your questions, you can address them quickly with all the appropriate information instead of leaving it up to someone else to answer for you.

Screenshot of GMB settings page

How to Make the Most of the Q&A

The best place to start is reviewing your listing and dealing with any unanswered questions. You’ll want to take the time to answer every question, as this will help you set yourself apart from the competition. 

When you answer questions as the owner of the Google My Business listing (make sure you’re logged in), you’ll be shown as the “Owner”. This helps lend credibility to your answer over those provided by Local Guides. 

Screenshot of Bicycles NYC answering a question in their Google My Business Q&A

Next, you can optimize your profile by adding your own questions. Think of your Q&A as a way to proactively answer your customers’ frequently asked questions so they have the information they need and are ready to do business with you. 

If you aren’t sure what kinds of questions and answers to include, talk to your team. The people who deal with your customers day in, day out, will be best equipped to share what kinds of questions get asked on a regular basis.

Although you can’t add web links, emails or phone numbers in answers, there’s plenty of other valuable information you can provide to potential customers. 

Screenshot of JA Gould Plumbing answering a question in their Google My Business Q&A

Finally, keep in mind that you have the ability to flag questions and answers that you believe are against the guidelines. You should make a point of regularly monitoring your Q&A so you can quickly deal with any problems. This may be inappropriate or incorrect information, or consumers who are misusing the Q&A to leave reviews or make other comments about the business. 

Screenshot of JA Gould Plumbing inappropriate question in their Google My Business Q&A feature

Once you click on the flag, a dialog box will appear to share why you’re reporting the question or answer. 

Reporting pop up on GMB

You’ve Got the Answer

In a way, Google My Business Q&A is an extension of the customer service arm of your business. It gives you an invaluable opportunity to speak directly with new and returning customers and the chance to keep them informed about your business while addressing any concerns they may have. Plus it’s a valuable (and free) opportunity for you to show up at the top of Google’s search results.

With more and more consumers doing research before they buy, making the effort to keep your Google My Business Q&A updated is clearly worth your time. By ensuring your potential customers have accurate, up-to-date information on your business via Q&A, you’re enhancing their experience and hopefully winning customers over in the process. 

 


Image Credits 
Feature Image: Unsplash / Henry Perks
All screenshots by author. Taken March 2019. 
Images 1-10: via Google